If you could only had one social media option to support your business goals which one would you choose? Roughly half of the respondents named Facebook as the most important social media platform in Social Media Examiner’s 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, which surveyed a cross section of businesses using social media in their marketing mix. What’s interesting about Social Media Examiner’s data is how the other social media venues measure up. The bottom line is that while Facebook draws its power from the number of people who regularly engage on the site and its evolving targeted advertising offering, you still must have a social media home base that you own. Understand that your social media marketing isn’t a desert island where you can only bring one platform. Learn how the process of developing buyer personas and mapping the customer journey will go a long way toward designing an improved customer experience. The complex nature of today's buyer journey, with more touch points across multiple channels, can make enhancing the experience challenging. Discover how customer journey maps and buyer persona marketing can facilitate your contacts' purchase decisions and improve the customer experience. I’ve been advocating the blog as the centre of an effective social media strategy for two years. Couldn't make it to Social Media Marketing World 2016?Get all the sessions with the SMMW16 Virtual Pass. The Actionable Marketing Guide participates in the following affiliate marketing programs to bring you great products and services. If you are in business and have a website (which is a must), in order to take advantage of your market and reach customers, using social media marketing strategies is vital.  Today growing your business without social media marketing is difficult.
Every business should utilize a form of social media marketing in their overall marketing strategy.  Even if you have to hire a social media marketing consultant, you should learn as much as you can about social media to help increase traffic to your business and build your customer base. The purpose of this article is to define social media marketing, show you the benefits of social media marketing, give the reader some social media marketing tips, and end with some social media marketing tools to help your business capitalize on this phenomenon. Wikipedia defines social media marketing as a process of acquiring traffic for your business through social media sites.  This term is regularly used for online businesses, but this can apply to any business that wants to connect with their customers and grow their clientele. There are several social media marketing companies and social media marketing programs that focus on generating information that builds awareness, and in turn encourages interaction between people so the information can be shared. Once you know your niche, you can then determine what social media platforms you need to be engaged with.  Not all social media sites are useful for every business type, so determining your target market is important to know where your customers reside. It is better to become an expert and recognized on 3 or 4 platforms than barely having a presence on 20 – 30 sites.  Engagement is vital, and it is more manageable to stay engaged on a few sites than overextending yourself on dozens of sites. Create an open forum – Somewhere on your site allow customers to be part of your creative process. Customers can also help you determine implementation strategies for attracting more people to your business.  Another positive to the approach of engaging your customers in the process is that they are more likely to promote your business and stay loyal customers over time because they know you value their opinion. Facebook poll feature – The Facebook poll feature is a tool that allows you to create a poll with as many different answers as you like for your friends to complete.
This feature also encourages your friends to interact and engage with you and others on your site.  Engagement is crucial to sustained growth in social media marketing and this tool allows your engagement activity to increase. Create new Twitter posts – If you have ever used Twitter before then you know new post come in regularly and it is easy for your post to get buried under new post.  One way to ensure updates are not lost underneath all the feeds of your followers is to consistently post new content. In order to thrive on Twitter, you not only need to post relevant content that people want to read, but you also need to post frequently. Use hashtags - When you tweet make sure to use hashtags.  Tags use the # sign, and using them lets your content show up for certain groups across the web. This form of social media has taken off over the last few years and has now become a staple in the online world of marketing.  When used properly, this method can increase the visibility of your business.
Social media allows you to connect with your customers on a variety of platforms, including mobile platforms.  In essence social media is communicating with people online and sharing valuable content with people you know and trust.
These social media marketing tools give small businesses a level playing field when it comes to their products and services.  From the dawn of time the best marketing has always been word of mouth, and social media is just an advanced form of that marketing approach. Below is a video with tips and strategies to market your business more effectively through social media.
In a post titled Small Business Marketing Ideas – Social Media Marketing, I discuss 8 additional strategies for using social media marketing to advertise your small business.  This post was aimed at online businesses, but the strategies covered can be used for all business types, online and offline.
The post discussed above was only one of several articles on marketing ideas for small business.  For the full list of post on marketing tools for small business visit the Build Your Business tab for the entire list. AgoraPulse - This tool helps you manage your Facebook Page and all the many elements that go along with Facebook.  This includes contest, promotions, advanced statistics, automated moderation, admin rights and other applications.
Swayy – This tool allows you to collect interesting content and drop it into one centralized dashboard where you can read the information and share it with others that may have similar interest.  This feature allows you to share the content on multiple platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, to name a few), multiple times a day.
Tagboard – This tool allows you to monitor #hashtags across numerous social media accounts.  This way you can follow conversations that are taking place around your niche or keywords that pertain to your business. As can be seen from the image above provided by Social Media Examiner, the most important social media platforms for businesses to utilize in business are Facebook (49%), LinkedIn (16%), and blogging (14%). Blogging is the one tool I did not discuss in depth here because there are several post on this site that talk about blogging, like Blog Home Business, and Home Based Business Blogs to name a few. The tools and tips above should help any entrepreneur better understand the social media marketing landscape.  If used properly the information will help your business grow and attract more customers. Remember social media marketing is just an advanced form of word of mouth marketing which has helped businesses grow since the dawn of commerce.  In the social media world there will be positive and negative comments made towards your business.
Even if you feel compelled, never to argue with your customers, instead remove offensive comments and ignore them.  If people have a legitimate problem with your business, engage with them to understand the issue and try to come to a resolution that makes all parties happy. Many times the people that had bad experiences or negative comments can become your biggest champions if you handle the situation professionally and you are amiable and welcoming to getting to the issue at hand and making sure that problem never happens again. Engaging with your customer base is vital to growing your business because their comments can give you better insight on your niche.  This can also give you the necessary information to develop social media marketing strategies to attract new people and build your customer base. Social media can have an incredibly positive impact on your business if utilized properly.  If you use the information above and apply the techniques consistently before you know it, your customer list will grow by leaps and bounds. To learn more about an amazing online opportunity that utilizes social media marketing click the picture below.
I think the key reason social media marketing is so effective is that buyers always seek certainty when they exchange their dollars for a product or service.
Great comments, social media marketing is all about trust and speaks to what you are saying about buying online in an uncertain digital world. Hey Jason- Excellent article, REALLY liked your video, short, sweet and got in 3 great points.. THX for pointing out, in a strategic fashion, the major points that businesses need to be aware of.
Thanks for the comments Mason and I always try to give my readers value and provide them with tools to help them excel in their business. Thanks for the comments Jaden and if you have any success stories using these tools let me know and I’ll do a follow up post showing how it has helped online businesses owners like yourself.
Social Media Marketing can be overwhelming and uneffective if done the wrong way and it’s easy to get lost. Thanks John for the comments and continue to return for updates on this site to help small businesses grow. Weaving together a great social media marketing strategy is an increasingly important aspect of online business.
This commentary is absolutely fabulous, packed with critical information for business owners today.
Thanks for the comments Giselle and continue to return as additional information is added to the site weekly.
Thanks for the comments Richard, and if you have any suggestions for future topics let me know. Everyone wants to measure the volume of leads generated to get to the bottom-line ROI of social media efforts. You’ll need to have a mechanism in place to know when a lead comes from social media. One of the most important steps in understanding where your lead came from is to know when someone clicks on a social media link and then converts.
The number will likely be fairly low in the beginning but by looking at conversions divided by leads, you can get your conversion rate for social media leads. However, when I compared them against a group of people that had not interacted with social media, I found some amazing stats that not only got my executive team excited about social media, it also showed that social media has a huge impact on our ability to convert leads. To add a control group, run the same metrics you normally run against a group that has never interacted with social media and compare them.
CareOne has seen that social media involvement in the sales process has greatly improved the rate of those who sign up for a debt relief plan and the propensity for those new customers to make their first payment. This helps us know all of the drivers to the sale and appropriately adjust costs related to the sale to get closer to a true ROI as well as look for that magic mix. A person clicks on a link in one of your tweets and goes to your site and converts into a new customer.
Depending on your business model and typical advertising expense, in the first example, the cost to generate that customer could be less than a standard customer who comes through paid advertising. In the second example, the cost will be higher than the standard customer who comes only through paid advertising, BUT even if it’s slightly higher for those who responded to more than one channel for lead generation, the incremental cost of social media will likely be less than trying to replace the unconverted lead with a new one. In order to do this you’ll need to keep all the leads converted in #1 and track them over time.
Many teams are using social media to help customers online and this often includes managing complaints. Social media engagement is largely determined by how well your social posts trigger action from your target audience.
In this article you’ll discover how to boost social media engagement by incorporating psychological triggers in your posts. In the GetResponse post below, they show that they recognize social media marketers want their email subscribers to feel as if they’re having a real conversation with the brand.
You can get more engagement from your social media posts if you make your target audience believe that they can easily implement a solution or change to a problem they are experiencing. Additionally, GetResponse captured the idea of simplicity in the article linked to in the post: 7 Strategies to Give Your Email Campaign a Human Touch. Eric Enge from Stone Temple Consulting used this strategy to create the Here’s Why video series for his target audience.

In your social media posts, explain to your target audience why they need something and how they’ll get it by reading your content or using your product.
With a good industry conference, you can build your brand and business by networking with new and long-time colleagues. When you start including your audience in what you’re doing, you’ll see an improvement in your social media engagement. Do you ever wonder how successful brands get so much attention and engagement with their social posts? Building relationships with the right influencers can extend your reach and boost visibility with your target market. In this article you’ll discover how to find and connect with influencers on social media.
Chances are you already know some of the influencers in your industry and they may even be in your personal network.
Suppose that you sell a natural supplement that helps with food allergies and your supplement is the best one on the market. On the results page, you can see all of the writers, bloggers and publications that are talking and writing about your keywords. Now that you’ve identified some influencers in your niche, the next step is to connect with them, and other influencers of note, on your social networks. LinkedIn is one of the most important social networks for getting noticed by influencers, especially if you’re marketing B2B. Once influencers accept your connection request, you can send them a message through the network, which goes directly to their email inbox. With LinkedIn Premium, you can send InMails to influencers even if you’re not connected with them.
Search Facebook for your influencer and keyword or phrase to find out who is important in your industry. A tool like Topsy will help you identify influencers who are posting interesting things about your keywords on Twitter. Post your own content regularly with the hashtags people search for and use the hashtags they use.
Influencer marketing is hard work, but it can be one of the most important tools for succeeding in your business. To discover how to accomplish goals, and to hear about the Kickstarter campaign for his new book, I interview John Lee Dumas. The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. In this episode I interview John Lee Dumas, the host of Entrepreneur on Fire, a daily podcast where he interviews entrepreneurs.
Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below. He says he wanted The Freedom Journal to have a significant impact beyond the people who purchase the book and shares how he decided to partner with Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise, which is a great organization that builds schools in developing countries.
Each time the project hits one of four different funding goals, John will personally donate $25,000 to Pencils of Promise on behalf of Fire Nation. He recognizes that not everyone can donate $25,000 to help build a school, but says they can buy a journal, knowing part of those proceeds will go toward building a school in a developing country.
John talks about why he’s going to keep his publishing in house and shares other plans for the rest of his 33-day launch campaign. Listen to the show to learn about some of the Kickstarter rewards for people who purchase The Freedom Journal. After polling his audience, John discovered his listeners struggle with setting and accomplishing goals. He knew this was something he could solve and explains why he chose to create a leather bound journal instead of a PDF or an online app. John defines a goal as SMART, an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound. The Freedom Journal starts by teaching you exactly how to set a SMART goal. Once you set the SMART goal, you can go forward to accomplish it.
Listen to the show to discover what John thinks keeps people from succeeding when they set a goal.
John talks about his military service and shares how his military training helped with his goal setting.
He says he quickly learned the value of Parkinson’s law (tasks will expand to the time allotted) and the Pareto Principle (80% of the stuff you do is not resulting in the 20% success that you want, so get rid of the excess stuff, and focus on your core 20%). When he left the military and entered the entrepreneurial world, John says he had a completely different perspective from a lot of people. John set the time period for achieving goals in The Freedom Journal as 100 days and shares why that timeline makes sense. At the end of each ten-day sprint, you do a ten-day sprint review to see if you accomplished your micro goal, analyze why or why not and decide what you need to do to go forward. If you fall behind, you need to figure out what you need to do to get yourself back on track.
John explains how everything in The Freedom Journal continues to point, re-correct, pivot and adjust you toward achieving your 100-day goal. He says that when you’re working toward a goal, you need to make minor adjustments every single day and night. John talks about how his Podcaster’s Paradise community started doing accountability matchmaking 6 months ago. Building your social media campaigns around stories helps you stand out from other brands, and grab the attention of consumers. In this article you’ll discover five ways to use storytelling in your social media marketing. This structure splits the story into five narrative arcs, evoking various emotional reactions from your audience. In your storytelling you can follow the steps in Freytag’s pyramid or use them in parts, but the approach helps you make an emotional connection with your consumers. In 2014 Jaguar launched a high-suspense campaign with David Beckham in China, targeting local social networks WeChat and Weibo. According to the recently published The Power of Storytelling from Facebook IQ, online storytelling on social media can have a direct impact on in-store purchases. Deliver sequenced Facebook ads that combine quality content with a strong call to create a social media-led storytelling campaign like this one.
A belief ecosystem allows you to move away from product-oriented branding to a more lifestyle or customer value-oriented branding. This approach is effective because it allows you to sharpen your brand identity, creating strong competitive differentiation and higher price flexibility. With powerful social media reach (1 in 7 people in the world are on Facebook) and democratization of the narrative, our online activities are propelling the shared economy to give us services that came from the computer and became real.
For brands, it’s important to recognize this and use the power of extension to help your audience feel more connected. In the Facebook post below, a donut shop shares the story of a local organization’s fund-raising efforts. People take pride in where they’re from and support local businesses on social media and in the real world. The McKinsey S-C-R (situation, complication, resolution) framework helps you develop a story that’s compelling and cohesive and brings out the unique value proposition of your brand. There are tons of great examples of storytelling techniques that can inspire your next social media campaign.
This is the biggest contest for social media blogs and the winners will be promoted in our 430,000-reader newsletter and announced on Social Media Examiner. Please make a single nomination of your favorite social media blog by commenting below and tell us why you like the blog (only your first nomination counts).
Be sure to include a link to the blog (comments with links automatically go into moderation for review and will be posted within one day).
To be considered, a blog must be nominated by two different people by no later than January 3, 2016.
Winners will be selected based on the quality of their content, frequency of their posts, reader involvement and their blog’s ranking (in that order).
Go ahead and enter your nomination right now in the comments below and be sure to let your friends know about this contest.
LinkedIn is building out its content marketing offering but that’s probably not part of respondents’ consideration. Twitter is useful for building your thought leadership and engaging in the social media conversation. YouTube is often underestimated as a social media platform because it’s often categorized as a video platform. Tumblr is the social media platform that few marketers knew about before yesterday’s announcement of its sale to Yahoo. As MySpace and earlier incarnations such as Friendster showed being the top dog of social media doesn’t guarantee your presence for the long term. I've just returned from San Diego where I presented a workshop session on Blogging at Social Media Marketing World 2016. The fact that you have total control over the content of your blog makes it the most direct and effective marketing tool that a business can have. It takes dedication, perseverance, and time to master the skills of social media marketing.  Below I will discuss eight (8) strategies for marketing your business more effectively with social media. Unfortunately, as the majority of businesses shift online the amount of uncertainty increases because we are conditioned to be able to physically touch our goods we are purchasing or having an in person conversation with the person we are buying from. This information is concise and quality content that can help any business with their social media campaign.
Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox and get the FREE Social Media Marketing Industry Report (53 pages, 80+ charts)! Hey Sean – Love your newsletter, too, but your cartoons would help in this world of too many words. The volume of leads generated was pretty low when compared to our other marketing channels.
This certainly makes it easier to justify budget dollars to integrate social media into the sales process. Look for how social media compares in areas like lead conversion rates, retention rates and costs.

Being able to show that volume is growing at a healthy rate helps prove that your efforts are generating an impact. After doing some digging, I found that my company was attributing the credit for the sale to the campaign that was the first cookie the prospect had received. Even if your sales process isn’t online, you need to make sure your CRM system allows for tracking to marketing efforts through the entire sales cycle and your teams are appropriately trained to track it. However, it is cheaper than many other traditional channels, so measure the full campaign history (as stated in #2) and then assign the cost per conversion and compare it against your control group.
Then later clicks on a link in one of your tweets and goes to your site and converts to a new customer. Compare the inclination of new customers to stay customers with and without social media interaction. How much revenue per customer was generated from social media compared to non-social media customers? This word triggers a desire in readers’ brains that convinces them that, yes, they can do this.
Walk readers through the hard stuff and break it down in easy-to-digest chunks of information so they can take action quickly and easily. In fact, in the well-known Xerox study, Ellen Langer and her colleagues conducted a simple experiment to see how people reacted when someone tried to cut in line at the Xerox machine. Maybe, for your business, you should offer a book your community is reading, a piece of content you offer (like an industry report) or access to extended features of your tool or service. A great way to connect with your audience is to incorporate psychological principles when creating your content.
Click View Links Shared to see their latest articles and posts, the number of shares for each article and where each article was published.
To find other important people in your industry on LinkedIn, enter your keyword or phrase in the LinkedIn search box. It’s their choice to respond to your message or ignore it, so get straight to the point and make sure your message is meaningful. Post a message to their page about how much you like what they have to say, but avoid being promotional.
Search for all of their accounts, because they may have both personal and business accounts. When your influencers tweet, you can easily find them and retweet, like or reply to their tweets. If it makes sense for your business to use only a few social networks, save your time and focus on the ones that really work for you.
It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.
He’s using Kickstarter as a platform for marketing and exposure, while allowing people to contribute to a cause. He had to adjust to the fact that the code of conduct in the military was not the same as the code of conduct in the rest of the world.
You identify your two major struggles and two major wins, as well as what worked over the past 25 days (25% of your entire goal) and what you need to do to pivot moving forward. These arcs include the inciting moment, the complication or rising action, the climax (or turning point), the reversal or falling action and the moment of release. Before revealing Beckham as the brand ambassador, the campaign asked consumers to guess Mr. This is a natural fit for social media where businesses need to define a niche target group (the first believers), develop a brand communication strategy (giving consumers a simple and clear reason to believe) and create online and offline spaces for brand reach and to share stories. This was in stark contrast to the pre-2013 online positioning of smart cars that talked more about product features than value. The video series has been instrumental in making the Blendtec brand a viral sensation and also has increased sales.
From two scrapbooked childhood photo albums to several gigabytes of photographic memories spread across Instagram and Facebook, we’ve come a long way.
How do you create content that garners more visibility than the mommy blogger on Pinterest or the new kid viral sensation on YouTube? The keys to successful storytelling are to choose a coherent message for your audience, select the right platform as your central storytelling hub and be authentic. As the 800 pound gorilla of social media, it should be a no-brainer but is it really the best for your business? As UMass Dartmouth Inc 500 research revealed and LinkedIn financials support, many businesses use LinkedIn to support their human resources efforts cost effectively. Businesses like Comcast have leveraged the power of Twitter to respond to customer service inquiries. That said, Orabrush and Blendtec, with limited investments, have built their businesses based on the power of their video series.
While Google+ shouldn’t necessarily be your only social media platform, it should be a significant aspect of your social media marketing mix. A blog is a social media entity that provides ownership and control of your content and interactions without the risk of disappearing. And that means developing a proprietary media entity (hopefully a digital one) that you own and control.
The other social media channels are only really useful when they all point to this central profile platform.
It is such an effective platform to connect with your target market because it is a store front in a virtual world. With social media this is now possible as we can now engage and interact with the person we are purchasing from. Some of those tools you listed are going to change the way I do certain things in my business.
You’re offering a truckload of social media marketing information that is very useful to the newbie marketer or seasoned marketing veteran.
Although I come here for all of your helpful content, its good to break up the day with a smile once in awhile. While the volume may not be there yet, the propensity to convert may be staring you right in the face.
Hootsuite has integrated Google Analytics into their URL shortener for a seamless transition to success metrics in analytics, while some companies are using proprietary shorteners and others are still trying to figure out how to do it.
Then use your campaign reporting to track the number of leads and conversions you’ve generated. The reality is that it takes time to build a sustainable social media channel; thus, setting proper expectations is very important. We can now report on the originating campaign, the campaigns responded to in between, and the converting campaign. The theory is that those participating in social media are more engaged and likely retain better. If you’re more of a onetime sell, measure if they come back and buy something else and how often they do. Ellen discovered that she was allowed to cut the line more frequently when she explained to people why she needed to.
Then look back over them to make sure you had the right ten-day sprint and determine how to improve the next one. Refinery29 also saw a 7% increase in in-store purchases and a 10% increase in online purchases. The FOR brand campaign also clearly differentiated smart cars from Daimler’s performance-oriented cars. Her expertise in social media comes from years of serving destination organizations and businesses in the travel and tourism industry.
Many businesses overlook the fact that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. Actionable Marketing Advice: Build your Google+ presence and following to ensure that you’re prepared for it’s eventual growth. For many businesses, it’s still in the testing phase Actionable Marketing Advice: Offer visually engaging content and make it easy to pin. The bottom line is that it is unlikely that a business will sell anything on a social site.
This information will also be distributed to my team which is a mix of new networked marketers and veterans of the industry. Then compare this against the control group of those who didn’t interact with social media and see if there are any improvements worth noting. Compare this to your control group and you’ll be able to tell if social media has an impact on up-selling or cross-selling. He tells them what they can expect and how they will benefit from watching the 5-minute video. If we say no to an opportunity, we fear we’ll miss out on something that could be of great benefit to us. What psychological tactics are creating the most engagement for your brand’s content? Further, check out SlideShare, its sister site focused on presentation-sharing, that is gold for generating business leads. Actionable Marketing Advice: Develop your Twitter following by regularly curating relevant content. In order to sell your products or services on the web it is necessary to move your customers from the social sites to your own part of cyberspace.
So those businesses who do market via social media have a distinct competitive advantage because they are also marketing certainty in a world where consumers buy for emotional wants and not needs. Actionable Marketing Advice: Establish your blog and create fresh content at least twice a week.

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